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computer for graphic design

Posted on 2010-09-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I'm building a new PC for graphic design. It won't be mac. Running Windows 7. Also running multiple adobe applications at one time. Work with a lot of high end graphics.

Anyone have recommendations on what to buy these days. Planning on an i7 processor.

Suggestions on anything appreciated.
Question by:wingcat

Accepted Solution

umaxim earned 400 total points
ID: 33713349
Hi i am working with high level design program and i use:

  • Intel Core i7-980X processor but you can get something chipper but i recommend this one.
  • 8GB DDR3 Memory
  • 2 SSD Raid 64GB
  • 2 Hard Drive Raid 1TB for storage video editing content it enough speed for video editing.
  • Ati 5870 Video card. But if you will work more with video than some ati firepro card.
I think it will enough to work with high level video and photo design. But this system will cost you like 2000 $.

If you rilly want to do professional design i suggest buy good computer now than spend money again when some chip one will be not enough.
LVL 69

Assisted Solution

Callandor earned 400 total points
ID: 33715883
I don't think graphics design requires a lot of cpu power, so an i7-930 would be sufficient.  Lots of RAM would help, but more than 4GB is usable only if you are running 64-bit Win7.  Be careful which SSD you choose, because some have severe write delays - only those with Intel and Indylinx controllers are free from this problem.  A powerful video card is not really necessary, as they only benefit 3D games.  You can get by with a middle-of-the-road card like a 5750.  If you are doing CAD or solid modeling, then a different card is necessary, namely, an OpenGL card, which can cost more than most systems.

Author Comment

ID: 33716125
would you recommend using a solid state drive? If so why. I was planning on a WD Raptor.

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LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 33718308
I don't think a solid state drive really gives you a good return for what you spend.  I use a VelociRaptor myself and find it sufficient.  An SSD would be worth it if you did a lot of tasks that ended up waiting for files to load or be saved, but I don't think that will be the case here.
LVL 32

Assisted Solution

aleghart earned 400 total points
ID: 33719644
>Work with a lot of high end graphics.
Not sure what this means.

For the last 10 years, I've always worked on notebooks.  From a G3 Pismo, aluminium G4, Gateway tablet, HP 17" nx9600, and now a Sager.  They've never been top of the line...not a good return for the money spent on the latest and greateset.

There will always be a faster hard drive, or the same drive for cheaper in one year.  Same goes for RAM.  If there's no price penalty, max out the mother board.  If you're paying 2x, 3x or more for max RAM, just install half and leave yourself an upgrade path in 6-12 months when the prices go down.

For web and print work, the most important things are screen real-estate and hard drive space.  External hard drives are a must, for backup and portability.  RAM is necessary just to install the programs and then work on multiple items at the same time.  (Premiere wants 2GB just to install, but doesn't play well with others until you have 4GB.)

For contract work, freelance, or for sanity when you've got family and/or travel, I always recommend a notebook with a high resolution screen.  1920x1080 in a 15.6" screen is very workable.  HDMI & VGA ports allow connection of external monitors.  I've used mine with a 26" Samsung for previewing some video work...works just fine, even with sound via HDMI.

I have a Sager notebook 5125.  Great speed, and has a hybrid SSD/traditional 500GB hard drive for fast boots and fast application launch.  Photoshop in under 2 seconds.  All-in, I think it was ~$1,800.  Replaced a $1,600 Sager that was around 1.5yrs old.

The biggest issue with notebooks for me is the 10-key.  I'm a touch typer...apparently they don't teach that any more.  My HP/Compaq 17" had a full keyboard with a real 10-key.  This 15.6" has a fake 10-key.  The keys are in the wrong positions, so does nothing except make typos and erase data.  Better off not to have it at all.

Stay away from top-of-the-line anything, IMO.  Will i7 be "faster" than i5?  Wouldn't know.  I've always grabbed the 3rd fastest CPU option or lower.  If you don't have it, you won't miss it.  Same for video adapters.  If you don't need 3D screaming gaming, don't waste the money.  Remember when high-end video cards had 32-64MB.  Still plenty enough for page layout and single photo editing.

If you have unlimited budget, you can go crazy.  But I spend out-of-pocket for the hardware.  So, I have a moving pain threshold.

Author Comment

ID: 33720419
good advise guys!

Assisted Solution

inbox788 earned 400 total points
ID: 33747479
It depends no what type of graphics you're doing. Complex 2D, 3D modeling/CAD, or video can lead to different solutions, but generally, you need more memory. If you have 4GB RAM, you'll benefit with 8GB. If you have 8GB, you'll want 16GB. As far as video card, on your budget, you won't do much better than a mid-range card designed for gaming, and that may be sufficient for mid-range work. Here's a good choice:


What you're really looking at is the memory. Make sure it's at least 1GB DDR5. You want more memory and fast memory. Avoid DDR2 or DDR3 video cards.

For somewhat more, you can get high end gaming cards with 2GB DDR5 cards like this one:


If you're willing to go used, you might find something closer to your budget with something like this:


And if there's no budget, this is what you want:



Assisted Solution

by:Reece Dodds
Reece Dodds earned 400 total points
ID: 34016265
Plain and simple...
  • Any i5 or i7 will be sufficient for CPU. As will AMD Phenom-II X3, X4 or X6.
  • 4 or more GB of DDR3 RAM will be needed to run multiple CS5 programs in a Win7 system
  • A 64GB or better SSD would be great for a boot HDD, but if you're on a budget 2 Samsung SpinPoint F3 HDD's in RAID0 would be good.
  • For high-rez 2D art and 3D modelling you should get an nVidia Quadro PCIe2 card.  For a budget though an nVidia GTX460 or AMD HD5770 would be fine (you can them get your game on during your breaks).
  • A Corsair, Antec or other quality 750W (or higher) PSU is a must.
  • oh yeah, to use the RAM you will need the 64-bit version of Win7.
LVL 71

Expert Comment

ID: 34216172
This question has been classified as abandoned and is being closed as part of the Cleanup Program.  See my comment at the end of the question for more details.

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